Part 1
By Pattie Yu, Co-founding partner, GYMR Public Relations

The resume came through a referral…three days too late. The new crop of interns had already settled into their workspaces and were busy learning the PR agency ropes. They were among the lucky few in a sea of hundreds of resumes from newly minted college grads. “Would you mind just spending a few minutes by phone and giving her some advice?” the referral asked. “No problem,” I replied, knowing full well my in box, voicemails, emails, linked in requests and grocery lists were growing longer by the minute. When I finished dispensing PR advice in rapid fire, the young woman said, “I wish I could shadow you for a day.” I looked at my calendar. “Well, I’ll be giving a presentation in Atlanta in mid July.” She said she would drive the hour to meet with me. A few short days later, she called and said, “I can get on a plane from South Carolina and shadow you in DC.” I liked her spunk. Her resume spoke volumes – 3.9 GPA, four year journalism scholarship, three internships, two annual reports to her credit, articulate etc. etc. Sold. We were short staffed with a significant event looming and put her to work. She blended quickly with my crackerjack team…down to slipping on the flats after a 2 am flight to DC, after a 7 am set up in the hotel, after a long day manning the event of corporations and patient and health professional groups — just one day in the life of a PR agency account executive. I know she’s a keeper.

Part 2
By Abby Rouen, South Carolina

My resume came through a referral… three days too late. The rain fell steadily on my post-graduate parade as I held onto the receiver as tightly as I held on to my tenuous hope. “I’ll be down in Atlanta sometime in July,” said Pattie, unaware of the train of determination barreling her way. “Sounds great,” I replied while the wheels continued to turn upstairs. “I can come to Georgia when you are there but I wish I could shadow you for a day.” And with that wistful remark, Pattie distractedly agreed. Her first mistake. I ran downstairs to find my parents, excitedly recounting each pearl of wisdom, stringing them on the necklace I planned to wear with my fresh interview suit. By the end of the story, flights had been reserved, emails were sent and a pink crocodile laptop sleeve was headed for our front door. I looked down, Cloud Nine was hovering thousands of feet below.

  • 2:00 a.m. Kiss my poodle good bye, pull out of the driveway and nervously chatter while my mother takes us farther away from the South Carolina state line.
  • 6:30 a.m. Sit in the Charlotte-Douglas airport, curse my parents’ insistence on arriving everywhere two hours early and stare at my untoasted Asiago bagel.
  • 8:30 a.m. Plane departs, impatiently wait for the beverage cart and balk at the $5 bag of almonds.
  • 10:00 a.m. Hail my first single cab, attempt to engage the driver in polite conversation and resolve myself to sitting silently in the back, staring out of the window and lessening my chances of being abducted. 10:20 a.m. Walk into GYMR, get escorted to my desk (!) for a debriefing seconds before a soon to be outdated media list is placed into my hands- so it begins.
  • 10:20 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. Media lists, cold calls, introductions, attempts to find the bathroom, the kitchen and rubber bands along with a consistent slew of “Would you mind if I asked a question?” sweetened by the saccharine twang of a slight southern accent. Follow up with a quick change in the company bathroom, a mascara wand stuck in my eye and a mad dash to attend my first event: The PRSA Hall of Fame Senior Leaders Series featuring the associate administrator of NASA communication, David Weaver. Not too shabby.
  • 7:00 p.m.- 9:00 p.m. Stare in awe at the room full of industry giants, shake hands while discussing my background and career, subversively make my way towards the enticing cheese display and stand at rapt attention while listening to David Weaver, associate administrator for the Office of NASA Communications.
  • 9:00 p.m. – 1:30 a.m. Dinner at Rolls and Rice, staring at the ceiling of the beautiful home of my new mentor while replaying the day in my head, over and over, like a two-star Lifetime movie. Not bad for my first day.